I'll be waiting
Anthony was back on his feet, picking up the rear.
“Anthony,” Peyton called, “How are you holding up?”
Bandages could be seen, even if Anthony had a visible suit, “I’m doing fine,” he said, “If it weren’t for the suit I’d be dead.”
“Suits,” a concerned Peyton said, “Tell me about the suits.”
“Alright,” Anthony said, feeling the damage to his, “The Phase line started with the first generation or 1ST. They used zero-space tech. Further improvements led to the second generation or NXT. They could beam down or up using light beams. The third generation, the series 3 or SRS3 was made to test bed energy technology hence the star lance. The fourth generation also known as the cuatro or CTO has the main selling point of invisibility tech. You’re wearing a suit, but no one can see it. The CTO is supposed to lead up to the X5, but even I’ve only heard rumors about it?”
“What have you heard?” Peyton asked.
“It’s supposed to be the last generation,” Anthony replied, “It uses energy tech to render everything, including the wearer invisible. It use’s energy based weapons and it has a jetpack.”
“That’s neat.” Jenny added.
“That’s not all,” Anthony said, “I’ve also heard that it’ll have limited self-reparability and be upgradeable on the fly for new modules and kits.”
Peyton wondered at the possibilities, “If we had the X5 now,” he said, “This mission would be a breeze.”
“The door out should be in the next room.” Anjum said, between Peyton and Jenny.
Samantha led the way.
“Be careful,” Peyton said, “The AFU is probably right outside.”
Samantha didn’t have to wait long. The last room had some structures, equipment, and AFU soldiers. She opened fired at one of the soldiers and took cover with the Horsemen and the Dr.
The structures and equipment were big enough to provide cover even though most were only hip high.
AFU soldiers came from outside and another room.
“We have to push our way out.” Peyton said.
Everyone was firing, even the Dr. The Horsemen switched cover to avoid fire and move into better positions.
“Dr.,” Peyton called, “Shoot only if you have to, otherwise stay down. Horsemen, keep pushing.”
AFU soldiers tried to push back and overwhelm the Horsemen, but it didn’t work.
Cover by cover, the Horsemen slowly fought their way outside. There they threw grenades, killing many AFU soldiers.
In orbit along with the Goliath, the Tyrant and her crew were busy trying to get her going.
“CDR. Ried,” Edict called on his communicator, “What’s your status?”
“We’re doing ok,” Kadala replied, “There’s massive damage to the zeta thrusters. It’ll take a few days for me to fix and even that’s pushing it.”
“We don’t have a few days,” Edict said, “Send over the parts they need so we can get back to Earth.”
“Adm.,” QM. Ledder called, “The Gen. aboard the Goliath has taken a Zetex gunship and is heading down to Zera IV to assist the soldiers.”
“Can we call him?” Edict asked.
QM. Ledder tried, “Negative,” he said, “No communications.”
“He’s on his own then.” Edict said.
Outside the temple, the Horsemen took cover behind the numerous statues. Anthony saw they were next to the field they’d seen earlier.
“Anthony,” Peyton called, “Make a clearing for the shuttle.”
Anthony phased out powerful explosive and threw it.
The explosion knocked down a few trees with its power. The gunship came down and fired upon them. The Horsemen were safe as long they hid between the statues. With AFU soldiers coming out of the temple on one side and the gunship on the other, the Horsemen were trapped.
“Sam,’ Peyton called, “Jenny, hit that gunship with your missiles.”
Jenny phased out her missile launcher and peeked out. She took aim and fired.
The impact shook the gunship and its shields flared up.
Samantha had phased out her missile launcher and lined up a shot. Her missile also struck the gunship, but this time, the shields didn’t flare up.
“That’s it,” Samantha said, “We’re are all out.”
Peyton phased out his missile launcher, took aim, and fired.
The gunship then erupted in a huge explosion. When it was all over it was nothing but a flaming pile of debris.
Peyton signaled for the shuttle and returned fire at the AFU soldiers.
It took a minute for the shuttle to arrive.
“Everyone,” Peyton called, “Get aboard the shuttle.”
First, Anjum got on. Then, Anthony and Jenny. It was then Samantha noticed Peyton wasn’t coming.
Peyton stood by the statues, shooting at the enemy.
“Sir.,” Samantha called, “Come on!”
“Go,” Peyton said, “I’ll cover you. I don’t need someone to take the shuttle out like we did that gunship.”
Samantha hesitated, “Peyton,” she said.
“Please,” Peyton responded, “Get the Dr. to safety. Finish the mission.”
Samantha entered and the shuttle took off. Through a window as the shuttle left, she saw Peyton fighting his way back into the temple.
“He stayed behind,” Anjum asked, “Just like that?”
Samantha nodded, “He did it for us.” she replied.
“I just need a new suit,” Anthony said, “Then I’m ready to go.”
“We are going back for him, right?” Jenny asked.
“If he’s alive,” Samantha said, “I’ll mount the rescue mission myself.”
“Count us in,” Anthony said.
Jenny nodded in agreement.
The shuttle rapidly ascended and docked with the Saratoga.
“We got the shuttle.” ops said.
“Helm,” Ford called, “Get us out of this ring and plot a course for Earth. Engage the graviton drive as soon as you can. I’m going to the shuttle to speak to the Dr.”
Ford got up to leave.
“Capt.,” comm. called before Ford could leave the room, “Just in. It’s Zera IV, ma’am. It’s a beacon. One of ours. We’re getting a signal.”